Author Archives: Maggie Melin Czerwinski

Suburban advocates demand better walking and biking infrastructure

The fight for safer streets for people walking and biking in Chicago’s suburbs has gained strength during the pandemic.

Groups and individuals have been organizing local bike rides and walks, creating petitions to improve traffic safety, launching new websites, forming as non-profits, and building support from elected officials to invest in walking and biking infrastructure.

To recognize their dedication and to help support their ongoing work, Active Trans awarded small stipends to a handful of advocacy groups and communities.

Chicago ranked near bottom of list of bike-friendly big cities

With high speed limits and few low-stress bike routes, Chicago and its largest suburbs score poorly in a new international ratings program designed to evaluate a city’s level of safety and comfort for people biking.

The City Ratings program was developed by People for Bikes, a national non-profit bicycle advocacy group. It ranks cities based on the quality and connectivity of their bicycle networks, and includes 21 cities in the Chicago region.

Annual walking & biking funding program gets a big boost

Active Trans is proud to report that one of the most important state funding sources for walking and biking improvements is awarding its largest annual amount ever.

The three-fold increase is the result of a statewide campaign led by Active Trans and helped along by supporters like you pushing for dedicated state funding for walking and biking.

The funding source — called the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program (ITEP) and administered by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) — is putting nearly $106 million toward walking,

Give your advocacy skills a boost with these virtual workshops

Ever wondered about the best time for advocates to get involved in a new transportation project?

Or maybe you’ve been stumped about the most effective way to gather input about transportation projects from a wide range of people in your community?

These are just a couple of the thorny questions addressed in a series of workshops held during Active Trans’ Suburban Action Week.

The event, which included more than 35 speakers,

Get the latest on projects underway in your suburban community

Wondering about walking-, biking-, and transit-related projects currently underway in Chicagoland’s suburban communities?

Well, here’s your chance to find out what’s happening.

During our recent Suburban Action Week event, we heard directly from county staff in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will Counties.

Staff from county departments of transportation, councils of mayors, forest preserves, and other agencies shared overviews of current and upcoming walking, biking, and transit projects in each county.

Inspiration and guidance for advocates in suburban communities

If you’ve ever considered pursuing a walking, biking, or public transit improvement project in your suburban community, you’ll find this series of videos to be a treasure trove of information.

The Active Transportation Alliance recently hosted its first-ever virtual Suburban Action Week, featuring 25 short online talks and workshops with advocates, county staff, and community leaders throughout the region.

Ten of the sessions focus on successful suburban campaigns to improve walking,

Learn the ins and outs of improving transportation in your suburb

Join us in February for a week-long mobilization event aimed at creating better walking, biking, and transit in Chicagoland’s suburban communities.

Suburban Action Week, taking place February 15 – 20, will feature a series of short online talks and workshops with advocates, county staff, and community leaders from the region.

Whether you are new to advocacy, a seasoned leader, or anywhere in between, if you are interested in seeing improved transportation options in your community,

Two key funding sources for projects in your community

The walking and biking boom during the pandemic has accelerated community interest in funding bike and pedestrian projects.

For decades, these types of projects have proven to make our streets safer for all users while boosting community health, equity, and sustainability. Yet, finding funding can be surprisingly difficult, especially for low-income, rural, and Black and Brown communities.

Fortunately, new funding opportunities have recently emerged thanks to advocacy from Active Trans and our partners across the state.

Closing the door on the Route 53 extension

Highway expansion has a long history of encouraging more people to drive, intensifying congestion, displacing low-income communities, and harming the environment.

For all these reasons, we were delighted to see progress made in putting to rest once and for all the controversial Route 53 highway expansion in Lake County.

An important step in preventing the project from easily getting reactivated in the future is re-envisioning the land that was acquired when the project was under consideration.

Mobility in the time of COVID-19 in the north and west suburbs

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed a lot of what we perceive and know about mobility and transportation.

In recent months, Active Trans met with more than 100 stakeholders who are invested in our work. We spoke with community partners, elected officials, department of transportation and transit agency officials, and residents across the city and suburbs.

As part of this process, we held a series of small-group conversations and solo conversations with stakeholders,